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September 04, 1987 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-09-04

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The Pope And The Jews

There were no apologies for the meeting with accused Nazi Kurt
Waldheim. There was no recognition by the Vatican of Israel's ex-
istence, with Jerusalem as its capital. So what did this week's
meeting between Pope John Paul II and Jewish leaders accomplish?
Perhaps more than meets the eye.
Cardinal John Willebrands, president of the Commission for
Religious Relations with the Jews, told the Jewish leaders that his
commission would prepare an official Catholic document on the
Shoah, the historical background of anti-Semitism and its contem-
porary manifestations.
For an aging generation of Holocaust survivors, who concern
themselves with preserving the memory of the special tragedy which
befell European Jewry, such a document could be significant in assur-
ing the world never forgets and that the Catholic Church
acknowledges shortcomings in providing moral leadership needed
at that time. And when revisionists seek to trivialize the Holocaust,
and when anti-Semites in the Middle East and Japan renew blood
libels and damning stereotypes, a firm, thoughtful and unequivocal
position would be timely and impactful.
While the meeting in Italy still leaves many issues unresolved,
the commitment made by the Vatican to prepare the document on
the Holocaust and anti-Semitism should be welcomed.

Jewish Labor Presence

Since their arrival on American shores, Jews have always played
a role in the labor movement, most noticeably following the great
immigration influxes of the late 18th and early 19th Centuries.
From the ranks of union activities sprang personalities such as
Samuel Gompers, a founder and 38-year president of the American
Federation of Labor, retired UAW vice president Irving Bluestone,
and the late Sam Fishman, who began on the assembly line at Ford
Motor Co. and rose to the rank of president of the Michigan chapter
of the AFL-CIO, a post he held until his death last year. There was
even a rabbinic role in the labor movement. Some had served as
mediators, or as in the case of the late Cong. Shaarey Zedek Rabbi
Morris Adler, as chairman of the public review board of the United
Auto Workers.
rib date, Jews still are actively involved in teacher unions, as civil
servants, in the media and in almost every discipline where the
unions champion the cause of the worker. At the same time, Jews
participate in the non-unionized workforce as well, in a variety of
purposes, both paid and unpaid, to benefit their fellow worker and
their fellow man.

As we celebrate Labor Day Monday with parades, trips to the
beach and family picnics, we would be wise to remember all who
have strived and to pay tribute to those who still do through study,
research, manual labor and the daily work-a-day grind to make our
country a leading industrial force in the world.

A Fine Journalist

Victor Bienstock died last Friday. He was one of the more signifi-
cant figures in modern American Jewish journalism, a vineyard in
which he labored for more than half a century. He entered it in 1933,
the year that Hitler came to power in Germany and a time fraught
with danger for Jews everywhere. But it was also a time when Jewish
journalism was rife with propaganda and rhetoric.
Victor Bienstock certainly helped turn Jewish journalism into
a credible subspeciality of the Fourth Estate. But perhaps what is
most impressive about Bienstock is that his sense of objectivity —
his sense of fair play — was universal. Fair play was not just for the
good guys. It was even for one's adversaries. As he recalled an assign-
ment from Bienstock in the 1930s to cover a Nazi front organiza-
tion in New York City, veteran correspondent Daniel Schorr said,
"Vic encouraged objective reporting of even the- enemy?'
Such high standards are rare. They reflect upon Victor
Bienstock's sense of personal decency and professional responsibili-
ty. We will miss him.

Is i11 LAVi



Norris Piece

As an American and
as a Jew, I take issue
with Harold Norris' diatribe
against Robert H. Bork
(August 28) and his judicial
philosophy. It is apparent that
Norris' reservations on the
Bork nomination stem from
knee-jerk liberalism rather
than from true concern over
Bork's judicial competence.
Norris presents several of
Bork's quotes which are
cause for all of us to be all the
more in favor of Bork's confir-
mation. Norris quotes Bork
on several issues, among



them abortion, equal protec-
tion, the exclusionary rule,
and free speech.
As a Jew, is Norris aware
that Jewish law explicitly for-
bids abortion, unless the
mother's life is in danger?
This fact was reaffirmed by a
recent letter to The Jewish
News by the Detroit Council
of Orthodox Rabbis. Judge
Bork is simply opposed to the
butchering of human life. In
addition, this is a states'
rights matter and should be
decided in the state
legislatures, though Norris
would have the court usurp
the legislative roles of Con-
gress and state assemblies.

With regard to equal protec-
tion, Bork has stated express-
ly that he will uphold ex-
isting civil rights laws. What
Bork is opposed to is the cur-
rent so-called "affirmative ac-
tion," a perversion of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, which has
led to reverse discrimination,
where "minorities" are un-
fairly preferred over much
more qualified other citizens,
in our academic institutions
and in the job market. Such
policy was never actually
legislated in the U.S.
Concerning the exclu-
sionary rule, apparently Nor-
ris would have the mass

murderer released to kill
again because a weapon or
confession may have been ob-
tained before police were able
to read him several minor
sentences or because of some
other technicality. Bork has
proven that, indeed, there is
no logical Constitutional
basis for this law whatsoever.
On free speech, it is ap-
parent that Norris would
rather protect government
employees who release top
secret information, thus
jeopardizing our national
security, and those who incite
What Bork realizes is that
while Americans are privileg-

ed to enjoy many rights, no
right is absolute, and the
rights of one end when they
violate the rights of another
— i.e. the rights of the unborn,
states' rights, the rights of all
Americans (not just certain
"minorities") to equal oppor-
tunity, victims' rights, and
the rights of all Americans to
live in a secure nation.
By quoting Bork out of con-
text, and quoting Chesterton,
Norris insinuates that Bork
would legislate his morality
upon the American public
and somehow take away from
them "the liberty to make
laws." On the contrary, Judge
Continued on Page 12

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